"Mom... Are you happy?"
“Mom.” My 4 year old son says.
“Yes, Jacob?” I reply.
“Are you happy?” He asks, with a look of concern.
“Yes, I am happy.” I reply, without much thought.
“Well...be happy then." He says insistently.
Honestly at that moment, I was feeling quite melancholy. My son could see it.
This was just the start of Jacob’s (currently daily) check ins on my happiness. Only instead of asking, he cues me if he catches me in thought, and he thinks my face isn’t happy.
“Mom!” He says very loudly, in effort to snap me to attention.
“Yes, Jacob?” I reply.
“Happy!” He cues. “Smile mom. Like this!” He says, as he shows me his biggest smile.
I had forgotten how much I used to observe my own mother. I didn’t realize how quickly he would grow up and become so aware of me.
But here is my son.
Just four years old.
Checking to make sure his mother is happy.
Determining she needs assistance.
And cueing her to come out of sadness.
It has jolted me awake.
I do not want him to grow up with a sad mother.
A sad face is not what I let the world see.
How then, could the love of my life...my four year old... be the one to bear the weight of it?
Do I think we should hide our emotions from our children… Certainly not.
However, I do think it is our responsibility to take ownership of them as much as we can.
They are looking to us to be grounded.
They are looking for us to take charge of the emotional environment at home.
Otherwise our children may feel responsible for our well-being.
I remember feeling responsible for the well-being of my house at a very young age.
I remember feeling like I had control, if I just held myself together with a smile.
I remember feeling like I had failed...over, and over, and over...even into my 20's.
There are many beautiful things I want my son to learn from me.
My darkness, is not one of them.
The last time I wrote to you, I talked of my recent journey of healing.
I realize more than ever that my son is also on the journey with me.
I carry him with me everywhere I go.
He carries me with him everywhere he goes.
A couple weeks ago, he said to me, “It’s just us mom. It’s just you and me here.”
He didn’t mean that he has no one else. Jacob is one of the most widely and strongly love children I know. He has so much love coming at him from all directions. He see’s dozens of people every week, who are committed to his growth and happiness.
But at the end of the day, he comes home to me...and I come home to him.
It’s just us at night.
It’s just us in the morning.
What a wonderful gift this time with him is.
What a beautiful (and undisturbed) opportunity I have...to create a home filled with love and happiness.
Happiness is truly a choice...
But in a time like ours (with so many reasons to despair) it takes faith, hope, love, and a dedication to monitoring our own mental health.
I am blessed to have mentors.
I have given them the authority to speak over my life, and to hold me accountable to taking care of myself.
We all need that.
Whether that person is a coach, therapist, or spiritual teacher, we need someone who has gone before us, and can help us navigate the way.
Out of anyone in my life that I try to encourage through my work,
my own son’s physical, spiritual, and mental health is the most important.
If my son determines at the end of the day,
his beloved mother is not able to generate her own happiness...then I have failed him.
Jacob is not giving up on his checkins.
Just this morning, as he was in my arms (waiting for his sitter to come to the door)...
Without looking at my face...
With his head on my shoulder, he softly cued…
“Yes baby, today will be a happy day.” I answer.
“I love you with all my heart Mom.”
“I love you with all of my Jacob.” I say, as I kiss his head.
I think he is becoming more certain that his mom is happy.
I am certain he needs my happiness, more than he needs anything else I could give.
2019 Update :
I am called to share my methods of restoring the heart, mind, and soul with you. I would love to have you come along with me.
Loving Her has it's one year anniversary this month.
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6/28/2016 01:13:31 pm
You are beautiful. An amazing mom and friend, always have been. Hugs my Maile.
6/30/2016 08:01:54 am
Much love to you Kristen. Big hugs!
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